- Kadhimi Urges Election Boycotters To Reconsider; Baghdad To Host Regional Conference; Protests Escalate Against Raids And Arrests In Nasiriyah – On August 7, PM Kadhimi convened a meeting of Iraqi political leaders, during which Kadhimi insisted on holding the election on time and urged political parties that had announced plans to boycott the election to reconsider their decision. Prior to the meeting, an adviser to Moqtada al-Sadr said that Sadr’s decision to boycott the election was “absolute.” On August 7, the head of Iran’s National Security Council urged Iraqi officials to expediting the implementation of a January 2020 Iraqi parliamentary resolution calling for the departure of foreign military forces. On August 9, PM Kadhimi spoke on the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss preparations for a regional conference that Iraq plans to host by the end of the month. At least 13 states will reportedly attend the conference, which is supported by Paris and Washington. Participants include Iraq’s immediate neighbors, regional powers like Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE, as well as the UK, U.S., and France. On August 9, al-Mada reported that protests escalated in Nasiriyah after security forces arrested a prominent local activist and conducted night raids against the homes of other activists. more…
- Militia Group Claims Responsibility For New IED Attacks On Contractors; ISIS Continues Its Campaign To Disrupt Iraq’s Power Grid – Between August 5 – 9, six IEDs targeted convoys transporting supplies for the International Coalition. A militia group called Qasim al-Jabareen claimed responsibility for at least three of them. Between August 5 – 12, numerous IED explosions damaged at least 15 high voltage transmission towers across several provinces in northern and central Iraq, causing widespread power outages. On August 9, Turkish military operations killed 13 PKK members in northern Iraq and damaged farms and villages. Between August 11 – 12, the explosions of two remnants of war and one IED killed nine members of the security forces and a civilian, and wounded two children. Between August 6 – 9, six attacks by ISIS militants killed five Iraqis and injured seven others. The militants also reportedly abducted five other civilians. On August 8, an activist from Wasit survived an assassination attempt by unidentified gunmen who struck him with multiple bullets. more…
- Hundreds Of Iraqi Migrants Stranded In Europe; Iraq Receives 2 Million Vaccine Doses; Virus Spread Slows Down But Remains High – On August 9, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry launched an investigation into the ongoing humanitarian crisis affecting 1,500 Iraqi refugees stranded along the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, in which an Iraqi citizen has died. On August 8, Iraq received two million doses of the Pfizer and Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines. On August 10, a vulnerability assessment in Sinjar estimated that nearly three quarters of families have “marginal and precarious shelter arrangements,” including half living in abandoned buildings. On August 11, HRW revealed that a family feud between a government minister and one of his relatives over the latter’s marriage to a villager with alleged ties to ISIS fighters led to the forced removal of dozens of families from their homes in the village in question. On August 12, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 1,751,176. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 19,466 while hospitalizations increased to 165,007. To date, Iraq has tested 13,632,192 samples for COVID-19. The daily average for new cases decreased slightly from 11,595/day over the 7-day period ending August 5 to 9,460/day during the last 7-day period. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 2,408,986, including 100,200 who received their shots on August 12. more…
- Baghdad Seeks New $4 Billion Loan From IMF; Lack Of Rainfall Cuts Iraq’s Wheat Harvest By 33%; Customs Revenue Shows Small Increase – On August 5, Iraq’s Finance Minister said that Baghdad has entered into discussions with the International Monetary Fund to borrow up to $4 billion to address its budget shortage. On August 9, Iraq’s Trade Ministry said farmers across Iraq delivered more than 3.36 million tons of wheat to the ministry’s silos, about 33% less than last summer. Lack of rain severely impacted the harvest in the northern provinces like Ninewa, where production declined by more than 90%. On August 10, the director of Iraq’s Border Ports Authority said the country’s ports of entry generated more than IQD600 billion in customs revenue during the first half of 2021, IQD95 billion higher than the same period of last year. more…
For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.
Kadhimi Urges Election Boycotters To Reconsider; Baghdad To Host Regional Conference; Protests Escalate Against Raids And Arrests In Nasiriyah
On August 6, Nechirvan Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG) met in Tehran with Iran’s new president, Ibrahim Raisi. A statement by Barzani’s office said the two sides discussed regional developments and relations between Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, and Iran. Specifically, Barzani and Raisi talked about strengthening trade relations and enhancing border security.
On August 7, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi convened a meeting of Iraqi political leaders to discuss preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections in October. Iraq’s High Electoral Commission (IHEC), representatives of the UN mission, and the heads of the judiciary and legislative branches also attended the meeting, during which Kadhimi said his government was determined to hold the election on time. Kadhimi urged political parties that had announced plans to boycott the election to reconsider their decision, according to a statement by his office. The premier also suggested creating a committee to negotiate with boycotting parties to convince them to rejoin the electoral process. Prior to the meeting, an adviser to Moqtada al-Sadr said that Sadr’s July 15 decision to boycott the election was “absolute,” stressing that “no member of the Sadrist [trend] has the right to support or promote any candidates.” Iraq’s Communist Party and several parties representing protesters had earlier announced that they will boycott elections to protest violence against fellow activists. Meanwhile, IHEC reiterated that none of the registered parties has submitted a formal request to withdraw from the election.
On August 7, the Iranian press reported that Popular Mobilization Committee Chairman, Falih al-Fayyadh, visited Tehran to meet with Ali Shamkhani, the head of Iran’s National Security Council. Shamkhani reportedly urged the Iraqi official to push for expediting the implementation of a January 2020 Iraqi parliamentary resolution that called for the departure of forign military forces. Later, on August 10, another Iraqi official, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, also met with Shamkhani in Tehran. According to press reports, Shamkhani said that Iraq should act to force Iranian opposition groups that are taking shelter in Iraq’s Kurdistan region (KRI) to leave the country. The Iranian official threatened to take “preemptive measures” should Iraq fail to act. On August 7, an Iranian Kurdish opposition leader was found dead in the KRI.
On August 7, Iraq’s Defense Minister, Juma Inad, visited Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi. A spokesperson for Sisi said the two sides discussed “military cooperation…including joint training programs, exchange of expertise and boosting capabilities.” Soon after, Iraq’s Interior Minister, Othman al-Ghanimi, visited Cairo on August 9. Ghanimi met with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohammed Tawfiq, and discussed strengthening cooperation between their ministries.
On August 9, Prime Minister Kadhimi spoke on the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss preparations for a regional conference that Iraq plans to host by the end of the month, according to a statement by Kadhimi’s office. According to a report by al-Mada, at least 13 states will attend the conference, which is supported by Paris and Washington. Participants will include Iraq’s immediate neighbors, regional powers like Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE, as well as the UK, U.S., and France. The conference is expected to address regional tensions, the crises in Lebanon and Yemen, attacks on shipping, and economic and diplomatic support for Baghdad. This week, Iraq dispatched senior officials to neighboring capitals to invite regional leaders to the conference, starting with Tehran, Riyadh, and Ankara.
On August 9, al-Mada reported that protests were escalating in Nasiriyah after security forces arrested prominent local activist Falah al-Zayadi and conducted night raids against the homes of other activists. According to al-Mada, activists responded to the security forces actions with several days of protests at Haboubi Square, burning tires, and blocking major roads. Local activists expressed concerns about more arrests after they reportedly learned that security forces have a list of two dozen “wanted” activists they plan to arrest. Activist Natiq al-Nasiri told al-Mada that fear of further raids prompted many activists to leave their residences and seek refuge in other provinces. A spokesman for Dhi-Qar police said the police didn’t perform any night raids, arguing that they arrested Zayadi after he was involved in a fight. The spokesman added that the activist is being held at the provincial counter-terrorism department, without explaining the reasons behind this decision.
On August 10, a U.S. State Department document said that Washington decided on July 29 to impose new sanctions on Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Kataib Hezbollah under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act. The sanctions prohibit U.S. government entities from supplying any services, goods, technologies or or other forms of assistance to the sanctioned groups or any “successor, sub-unit, or subsidiary.”
On August 10, The National reported that social media company, Facebook, will require advertisers promoting candidates or parties competing in Iraq’s upcoming election to undergo a vetting process and obtain authorization before they could post ads. Facebook says that obtaining a special identification card from Iraqi authorities is a prerequisite for initiating the authorization process.
On August 10, government spokesman Hassan Nadhim announced that Prime Minister Kadhimi’s Cabinet has finalized a draft law for Iraq’s National Security Service. The Cabinet will send the bill to Parliament for its vote and approval.
Militia Group Claims Responsibility For New IED Attacks On Contractors; ISIS Continues Its Campaign To Disrupt Iraq’s Power Grid
On August 5, an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a International Coalition logistical support convoy as it drove on a highway in Diwaniyah. No damage was reported. Shortly afterwards, another IED damaged a vehicle that was part of a similar convoy as it traveled through Babylon province. On August 8, a third IED exploded near another convoy on a highway in Nasiriyah. Within a few hours, an additional IED targeted another support convoy as it traveled through Babylon and another IED struck near a convoy passing within the borders of Baghdad. A Shia militia group called “Qasim al-Jabareen” released a statement claiming responsibility for the three attacks on August 8 and promised more attacks. On August 9, another attack struck a similar convoy in Babylon province, damaging one of the convoy’s vehicles.
On August 5, explosions damaged several high voltage towers supplying electricity to eastern Salah ad-Din province. On August 8, unidentified militants used an IED to target the 400KV East Mosul-Mosul Dam line, destroying a tower that spans the Tigris river, and causing power outages across Ninewa. The Joint Operations Command spokesperson said on the same day that their forces have “thwarted more than 18 attempts to target electricity towers in the past two weeks.” On August 9, IED explosions damaged three towers on the Qayyarah-Mosul Dam line. On August 10, the Northern Electricity Transmission Company announced that a new series of IEDs toppled seven more towers on the Kirkuk-Baiji line. On August 12, the Electricity Ministry reported that IED explosions targeted the Musayab-East Karbala and Musayab-North Karbala, knocking down two towers and taking the two transmission lines out of service. Another attack in Salah ad-Din damaged two towers on the Samarra-South Tikrit 132KV line, taking it out of service.
On August 6, ISIS militants attacked a military outpost belonging to the Iraqi Army’s 45th Brigade south of Daquq in Kirkuk province. The attack killed an Iraqi soldier.
On August 6, ISIS militants disguised as members of Iraqi security forces set up a fake checkpoint near the village of Kandar southeast of Mosul. According to a security source, the militants opened fire on a vehicle, injuring three passengers and kidnapping two others. Subsequent reports citing security sources suggested that the militants kidnapped ten individuals, five of whom managed to escape.
On August 7, ISIS snipers attacked an Iraqi military outpost in al-Nabai, north of Baghdad. The attack killed one Iraqi soldier and injured another.
On August 7, officials found the body of a senior Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I) official and Peshmerga fighter, Mousa Babakhani, in an Erbil hotel room. According to a KDP-I statement, Babakhani’s body showed “serious marks of torture.” The KDP-I has accused Iran of murdering Babakhani after he was “kidnapped by two terrorists of the Islamic Republic on Thursday.”
On August 8, ISIS militants attacked a police checkpoint with sniper weapons northeast of Baquba in Diyala province. The attack killed one Diyala policeman. The following day, an attack by ISIS snipers on a similar checkpoint north of Baquba injured a civilian bystander.
On August 8, unidentified gunmen attempted to assassinate Qasim Issa, an activist from Wasit. The gunmen, who were riding a motorcycle, opened fire on Issa and struck him with multiple bullets. The activist survived the attack and is recovering in the hospital.
August 9, a security source said ISIS militants executed the owner of a well drilling rig near al-Zab in Kirkuk province. According to the source, the militants accused the victim of collaborating with security forces. The militants released the other workers.
On August 9, Turkish military operations killed 13 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members in the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq. A local village official revealed that PKK members had fired a missile at a Turkish vehicle two days earlier, injuring the driver. The subsequent Turkish operations caused fires in nearby farms, according to the village official.
On August 9, ISIS militants attacked a security point in the Makhmour district of Ninewa province. According to a security source, the attack killed a tribal mobilization fighter and injured another. Another report said the attack injured two tribal fighters.
On August 9, Iraq’s National Security Service said in a statement that Iraqi forces ambushed and killed a suspected ISIS logistician involved in transporting suicide bombers to Baghdad. Two Iraqi soldiers also died in the operation, which took place in the Tarmiyah district north of Baghdad.The ISIS member reportedly transported the suicide bomber who killed35 civilians in in Sadr City in July.
On August 11, an explosion killed nine security officials while a team of Salah ad-Din Operations Command and Energy Police officers attempted to remove an explosive remnant of war (ERW) in Baiji district. On the following day, another ERW explosion injured two children near Qayyara, south of Mosul.
On August 12, security sources said an IED explosion killed a civilian on a farm in the Amerli subdistrict in eastern Salah ad-Din province.
Hundreds Of Iraqi Migrants Stranded In Europe; Iraq Receives 2 Million Vaccine Doses; Virus Spread Slows Down But Remains High
On August 8, the Iraqi Ministry of Health received two million doses of the Pfizer and Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, representing the largest delivery to date. Iraq also expects to soon receive 500,000 more doses of each vaccine from the United States and China, respectively. The Director of Public Health in the Ministry said Iraq expects to receive a total of 18 million Pfizer vaccine and 14 million of the Sinopharm vaccine by the end of this year.
On August 9, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry launched an investigation into the ongoing humanitarian crisis affecting Iraqi refugees stranded along the Lithuanian-Belarusian border in which an Iraqi citizen died. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 1,500 Iraqi refugees are stranded between the two countries. Refugees have reported dire conditions in the camps, including “flooded tents, assault by authorities,” and lack of drinking water. Last month, Lithuania asked the Iraqi government to intervene to stop the movement of Iraqis to eastern Europe. On August 5, Lithuania asked the European Union (EU) to intervene in the refugee crisis on its border, which it accused Belarus of creating in retaliation for EU sanction on Minsk. The EU held subsequent talks with the Belarusian and Iraqi officials to determine a solution to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. The Foreign Ministry announced it would issue transit passports for Iraqis willing to return voluntarily to Iraq. Iraqi airlines also released a statement that they would temporarily suspend flights between Iraq and Belarus to curb the illegal smuggling of Iraqi citizens. At least 320 Iraqis returned to Baghdad from Belarus on August 9 and 10. The body of Jaafar al-Haris, the Iraqi citizen who died along the border, was also returned to Iraq.
On August 10, the Human Relief Foundation released a Rapid Vulnerability Assessment for Sinjar that was based on surveying 142 households in 12 neighborhoods in Sinjar during June 2021. The report focused on education levels, shelter availability, and income to assess levels of vulnerability within the Sinjar communities. Among its key findings, the report pointed out that 60% of heads of households have no formal education and nearly three quarters of families have “marginal and precarious shelter arrangements,” including half living in abandoned buildings. The report also found that most surveyed families don’t have a reliable source of sufficient income.
On August 11, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported 13 incidents of access restrictions that affected the movement of aid organizations operating in Iraq in July, down from 16 reports in June. OCHA estimated that the access issues impacted the timely delivery of aid to 60,000 recipients.
On August 11, Human Rights Watch revealed that a family feud between a government minister and one of his relatives over the latter’s marriage to a villager with alleged ties to ISIS fighters led to the forced removal of dozens of families from their homes in the village in question, which is located near Eitha in Salah ad-Din province. Acting on orders from the government minister, security forces took 90 of the 330 families that inhabit the village to a displacement camp where many villagers lived during ISIS occupation. The minister’s son reportedly threatened last month that the 270 remaining families will be evicted too. Earlier this week, Prime Minister al-Kadhimi’s national security adviser arrived in Salah ad-Din to investigate the arbitrary evictions, but the government has yet to intervene.
On August 12, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 1,751,176. This is an increase of 66,221 in cases from the 1,684,955 reported on August 5. Of these cases, 165,007 are currently in hospitals, including 989 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent an increase of 1,273 in hospitalizations and an increase of 56 in ICU admissions since August 5. Ministry data indicated that there were 466 new COVID-19 deaths since August 5, bringing the total from 19,000 to 19,466. The total number of recoveries increased from 1,386,331 to 1,566,703. The average number of new cases was 9,460 per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 11,595 per day during the 7-day period ending August 5. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 2,294 cases, Basra with 1,004 cases, Sulaymaniyah with 803, Wasit with 696 cases, Ninewa with 613 cases, and Duhok with 567 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 13,632,192 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 2,408,986, including 100,200 who received their shots on August 12.
Baghdad Seeks New $4 Billion Loan From IMF; Lack Of Rainfall Cuts Iraq’s Wheat Harvest By 33%; Customs Revenue Shows Small Increase
On August 5, Iraq’s Finance Minister, Ali Allawi, said that Baghdad has entered into discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revive a proposal that Iraq reportedly first made in 2020 to borrow up to $4 billion to address a budget shortage. The minister said that he does not expect the negotiations to lead to an agreement “before the end of this year.”
On August 8, Iraq’s Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul-Jabar met with the KRG Minister of Natural Resources, Kamal Atroushi. During the talks, Jabar said that his ministry and the federal government stress the need for transparency in the management of oil operations in all of Iraq, adding that Baghdad wants to resolve disputes with the KRG through dialogue, “while placing national interests above all other considerations.” For his part, Atroushi expressed interest in “opening new horizons” in relations with the federal government towards joint development of oil and gas to create “interdependence, leading to the best use of oil resources for public benefit.”
On August 9, a spokesman for KRG Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani, said the latter has ordered a unit of the Asayish security force to be stationed permanently at border crossings, including Bashmagh and Perwizkhan. According to the spokesman, the deployment aims to “combat smuggling and illegal activities, and to stop individuals carrying out illegal commercial activities.”
On August 9, the Iraqi Trade Ministry announced the conclusion of the summer wheat harvest and marketing season. According to a ministry statement, farmers across Iraq delivered more than 3.36 million tons of wheat to the ministry’s silos. Wasit province produced the most wheat, with 623,746 tons delivered, followed by Salah ad-Din, whose farmers delivered 334,933, and Diwaniyah, which delivered 297,727. The director of the state-owned grain marketing company, Basim al-Ugaili, noted that lack of rain severely impacted the harvest in the northern provinces. Ninewa, which produced 920,000 tons last summer, was able to deliver only 89,100 tons this time, representing a decline of more than 90%. This summer’s total harvest is about 33% smaller than last summer, when Iraq received five million tons in its silos.
On August 10, the director of Iraq’s Border Ports Authority, Omar al-Waeli, said the country’s ports of entry generated more than IQD600 billion in customs revenue during the first half of 2021. According to Waeli, this figure is IQD95 billion higher than the revenue Iraq generated during the same period of last year. Waeli regarded these statistics as “good and important indicators of improved performance.”
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from August 05, 2021 - August 12, 2021The following table includes both civilian and security forces who were either injured or killed due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), or suicide attacks.
|08/12/21||Amerli subdistrict, Salah ad-Din province||1||0|
|08/12/21||Salah ad-Din province||0||0|
|08/12/21||Karbala, Karbala province||0||0|
|08/10/21||Riyadh district, Kirkuk||0||0|
|08/08/21||al-Kasr, Ninewa province||0||0|
|08/08/21||Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province||0||0|
|08/05/21||Salah ad-Din province||0||0|
|08/05/21||Diwaniyah, al-Qadisiyyah province||0||0|
Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.
Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Enabling Peace in Iraq Center.
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